Gold Hill Newsletter

Posted on: September 25th, 2016


       Minutes of the August 8, 2016 Town Meeting

Next Town Meeting is Monday, October 10, 2016, 7:30 p.m. at the Community Center

In the absence of Chair Peter Swift and Vice-Chair Bear Carlson, the meeting was called to order by Secretary Gretchen Diefenderfer. Twelve people attended: Christine McCaul (and Gabe), Dan Maedke, Debra Yeager, John and Cherry Sand, Mary Ryan, Pam Sherman, Stefanie Wilson, Bobby and Member at Large Tony Vrba, Treasurer Martha Knapp, and Secretary Gretchen Diefenderfer.

Minutes of the June 13 Town Meeting were approved as published.

Treasurer’s Report – Martha reported:

At the previous Town Meeting in JUNE our bank balance was $13,490.01 and a balance of $85 held for us in trust at the Ward Church.

   Revenue since then includes funds from cemetery donations and fundraising sales. Expenses include porta-potty servicing. Our current bank balance is $13,936.51. Monies held in trust at the Ward Church remains at $85. Our total cash assets are $14,021.51.

Current individual fund totals are as follows:

  • General Fund $2,125.10
  • Cemetery $4,678.09
  • Community Relief $3,576.95
  • Forest Management $94.12
  • Safe Link (funds for SafeSite, AirLink, NeighborLink projects) $3,547.25
  • Community Planning $0 (zero)

ELECTIONS – Generally we have started the elections with the Chair and worked down, but after some discussion, it was decided to begin with Member at Large and work up to Chair.

     Duties of Council Members – Tony reported that the Member at Large conducts the yearly Bake and Rummage sale, puts up the signs to announce the Town Meetings, reports on community planning issues, and orders items like glasses and t-shirts for sale. Tony thinks it is time for new blood at this position and added encouragingly that there is always plenty of help for the Bake/Rummage sale.

Treasurer – Martha reports that her duties are essentially those of a glorified bookkeeper – keep track of our funds, pay the bills, and file financial reports to the state, the feds, and the town meeting.

     Secretary – Gretchen reports that she takes minutes and published the Newsletter, takes care of the website, puts out town emails – acts like the town crier.

     Vice-Chair – runs the meeting if the Chair is absent and assists where needed.

     Chair – runs the Town Meetings and acts as liaison with the County and others, oversees that town issues are followed up.

Member at Large – Chrissy nominated Dan, Deb seconded, and in the absence of further nominations, the nominations were closed and Den was elected unanimously as our new Member at Large.

Treasurer – Pam nominated Martha, who agreed to serve again. Tony seconded and Martha was elected unanimously.

Secretary – John nominated Gretchen, who tried to talk someone into being interested, but no. Deb seconded and Gretchen was elected unanimously.

Vice-chair – Bear has emailed that he was willing to continue, Gretchen nominated him, Martha seconded and he was elected unanimously.

Chair – Peter Swift had emailed that, “If someone wants to be chair, great”. Several people were suggested and asked if they were interested, but only Tony was willing to run. Martha nominated Tony, she agreed after some encouragement, and was also elected unanimously. And we have our new Town Council. Thanks very much to Peter for his years of service!

There were cheers all around, and Tony took over running the meeting.


Community Planning – Tony reports that the Cemetery looks really good – Bob Walter has been replacing burned fence posts and cleaning up. The Gold Rush (Bake/rummage/craft sale) is scheduled for September 11 in the Beer Garden – we really appreciate Brian and the Gold Hill Inn for this space. She has a list of volunteers from last year and hopes most will volunteer this year, too. Joanne Cole will work with the crafts people, Larry Worster will handle the music, John agreed to help with the brats. Suggestions? Contact Tony or Dan, our new Member at Large.

Historical Zoning – no report

Forest Management – no report

Fire Department – Bobby reported that training continues monthly. If anyone is interested, contact Donal Maloney. During the Fire Ban, the department has put up signs at all the campsites in our district and is patrolling. Fire Board meetings are the third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 p.m. here. They are looking closely at a new (used) fire engine from Lefthand FPD. We want to replace our 1985 Engine I. Rick Geesaman, Fire Board Member sent an email reporting that “The Fire Board has stopped their efforts to put a cistern in the upper reaches of the Town Meadow. This decision is based on the existing leach fields, septic tanks and lift stations that make it impractical to get equipment in to excavate the hole and install the tank, nor is there a way to get a water line from the cistern to a hydrant adjacent to Hill St. We are looking at other options.

Weed Management – Pam reports that one good result of the drought is that it’s been hard on the weeds, too. Gretchen requested bulletins on weed control –which ones are invasive, best ways to control them, and best times to work on them. Pam will do.

Historic Gold Hill – John reports that there are new exhibits on the Bluebirds and Frank V. Boyd – come on by! It’s been a good season. The Museum is open through Labor Day and by special appointments with a board member. Martha added that the 2017 calendar looks great.

Mining – Gretchen reports that there are vehicles up there most days, and sometimes quite a few, but she doesn’t see anyone to speak with.

Gold Hill School – Chrissy reports that the teachers are starting the 10th and the kids arrive on the 18th. Matt Legg and Dan are working on projects like the greenhouse. Mishie is pregnant (!) and due in December – exciting news! K, 1, 2 are very full (17) and 3,4,5 are a little lighter (12). All the teachers are really looking forward to it.

SafeLink – Pam reports that Dina Elder and the AirLink group are looking for a grant to add the capability to communicate with Jamestown. Pam moved that the GHTM be the fiscal agent for this grant, since we are now a 501(c)3. Chrissy seconded and it was approved. Tony added that the TM needs a document for this.

IMA – Pam has attended two meetings on campfires/camping/ and associated problems in our forests. Here is her email report:

Brief report summary of two Peak to Peak public meetings held around the irresponsible campfires issue and related topics. 

Tuesday Meeting 8/2 on Campfires and other Forest Issues of Concern:

The meeting took place at the Ned Community Center auditorium 5 – 8 pm. There was standing room only.   Present were Boulder County Sheriff’s Dept., U.S. Forest  Service, both the Boulder office and the A/R Forest as a whole, Town of Ned Police, Fire, administration, U.S. Incident Commander for the Cold Springs Fire, head of NICHE, the local Ned organization working with homeless people in the forest, and head of Peak2Peak Forest Watch, local Peak to Peak organization working to bring together the above groups, private landowners, and the public around safety issues wrt people starting illegal and dangerous campfires and otherwise breaking the Forest/County laws and endangering locals. Reps from the county commissioners and from Polis, Gardner, and Bennett’s offices came to listen, as this is very much a national as well as local issue.

Members of the public, while thanking the fire officials profusely for their amazing work saving homes and putting the fire out, also got down on them for thinning, patch cuts, not removing slash piles and piles being made not according to spec, and not assigning more patrol officers in the forest. In response, the fire officials reported that thinning, with the attendant slash piles, and patch cuts, are an essential part of fire fighting and helped a lot to fight this fire. They also acknowledged that the agencies just do not have the money to increase patrols. There are two USFS law officers who patrol the area from Continental Divide to Boulder and parts of Larimer and Gilpin. On summer weekends, the USFS pays the Sheriff’s Dept. for more deputies to come into the mountains. They don’t really have time to patrol per se; rather they are going from one called-in trouble spot to another. It would take several years to get a paid campsite or get hosted campsites or get camping banned here in the Arapahoe/Roosevelt National Forest due to USFS rules.

In case you haven’t seen it, here is a link to the presentation given by a Peak to Peak property owner who deals with illegal and irresponsible campfires all the time on his family’s land; it was published as a guest opinion in the camera: No 10 Gallons, No Campfire

Brief Report Summary of Peak to Peak Forest Watch Meeting Saturday 8/6 

This meeting was a presentation and discussion led by Joe Hall, who started the Peak to Peak Forest Watch group at the end of March. Currently it is a closed FB group with close to 600 members.

P2PFW is working hard on getting a website up, where local residents, local businesses, concerned visitors, Sheriff’s Office, US Forest Service, local fire departments, local police departments, and other concerned folks and organizations can meet online and share concerns, exchange information, communicate, monitor, take action. When it’s up, it will be the main hub for the group rather than Facebook.

The goal of the group is to ensure the safety of those of us who live here by reducing the  irresponsible, illegal campfires and other actions taken by temporary forest residents that endanger our homes, lives, and the forest.

There was discussion of local residents doing friendly patrols of the area this type of camper is trashing–observing and reporting any rule-breaking (fire, feces, guns, drugs, whatever), not speaking to the campers unless spoken to, and if spoken to, being friendly,  just checking on the situation. This would happen after the 501 (c) 3 is in place.

The Sheriff’s Office, Forest Service, local fire departments and police, teaming with Forest Watch and other local citizen groups are looking at offering training next summer for those interested in monitoring/patrolling and related issues.

The FB page is Peak to Peak Forest Watch. Email is


Community Center – John brought up that he has drawings by CU students from several years ago – 12 different concepts for a Community Center. It seems that there are a few possible places something could be built, but all have some questions. One is the triangle of land down Lickskillet behind the Red Store (some mining claim conflicts), another is the ½ acre by the Cemetery (not centrally located), as well as the People’s Park on Dixon. Tony has started on a survey to assess town interest. She is concerned because in the Resiliency survey no one identified a need for a Community Center, but Chrissy pointed out that the focus of the Resiliency Survey was very different. John added that there was a survey done some time ago on what was important to the people of Gold Hill and has it if Tony would like to see it. Tony has the new survey 1/2 way done and will get it out.

Spring Clean-up – Gretchen reports that it was a fine success – the day was great, lots of people came to help and the County people were a great help, too – thanks so much to all and to the Finns for again letting us use the parking lot. We will be getting a bill for the trash dumpsters (the County supports the recycle/reuse aspects, but not the trash disposal), and we did not collect enough donations to cover them. She expects we will have to consider charging more next year, or agree that the Town Meeting should cover the shortfall.


Sheriff Pelle on Seasonal or Permanent Fire Bans – “There is no allowance under the current law for seasonal or permanent fire bans”. There are criteria for the fire bans we put in place when the fire danger is high.

From Joanne Cole:

From what I glean from Sheriff Pelle’s statement, he is bound by the Colorado State Statute regarding Fire Bans, so let’s start by changing the State Statute.

Here are our State Representatives that serve Boulder County at the state level.

I would urge anyone concerned about fire in Boulder County to contact these folks:

Senator Tim Neville – District 16 

303-866-4873 website

Senator Matt Jones-District 17 

303-866-5291 senatormattjones@gmail.comwebsite

Senator Rollie Heath-District 18 


Representative Dickey Lee Hullinghorst-District 10 


Representative Jonathan Singer-District 11 


Representative Mike Foote-District 12 


Representative KC Becker-District 13 


Representative Dianne Primavera-District 33 


 Tony suggested that we try to get the local fire departments to back this. John said that there is an open period for citizens to speak at the County Commissioner’s meetings where we could raise our concerns.

Porta-Potti – Gretchen reported that Martha let her know that someone had left off the lock off our town porta-potti and it seems to be full. She has bought a new lock, and called the people to come service it. She wondered about changing the combination, but the consensus was to just wait and see what happens.

Welcome Buckets – Deb reports that the buckets have lots of information (fire department, town meetings, etc.), cookies and assorted small gifts. She is out of buckets and needs to purchase and put together more. People love them. Let Deb know when new people move in. John moved that we allocate $100, Bobby seconded and it passed unanimously. Bobby added that we got a new fire department member because of the buckets.

Black Cube – Laurie Britton Newell emailed her thanks to the town and the Town Council for supporting the Gold Hill Art Project. It was a real success.


Respectfully submitted, Gretchen Diefenderfer, Secretary

P.S. If you haven’t filled out the survey, please do